This week's Mainstream Media Scream features CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter suggesting that ESPN and host Jemele Hill, who tweeted "white supremacist" at Donald Trump were a victim of rivals.
On his Sunday show, he said:
"The world's biggest sports network, ESPN, is in the crosshairs after SportsCenter host Jemele Hill tweeted that President Trump is a white supremacist. Hill prompted new conversations about whether the U.S. president is a racist. So, why did this particular tweet back on Monday, made on Hill's personal account, catch fire and become a week-long story?
"After all, she's not the first to call Trump a racist or white supremacist. And this is far from the first time members of the media or news outlets have questioned Trump's complicated relationship with white supremacy. You can see these recent magazine covers all published in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"There's a couple things going on here that we should be honest about. Number one: This controversy gave conservative media like rival Fox Sports -- ESPN's wanna-be rival Fox Sports – the opportunity to cast ESPN as the liberal enemy. We also saw President Trump and his White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders addressing this controversy, being asked about it. It seemed the White House embraced this fight. Perhaps another example of media bashing.
"So, there's a lot of dynamics at play here, including ESPN's social media policies. And we're going to get into that with two top newsroom leaders. But maybe we should call this was what it is: It's media bashing of another color....
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our weekly pick: "Stelter holds himself as some sort of independent media critic, but in framing ESPN and Hill as the victims of unfair attacks from conservatives, he placed himself clearly with those on the left who presume an illegitimacy to media criticism from those on the right. Looking at ESPN's liberal political correctness, and hypocrisy in how they treat political comments from staff, would have been the main focus for a true media critic."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com